LAKE MURRAY, SC (WIS) - "You mind showing me your life jackets?" asks Sergeant Damion Young to a boater who is heading out to Lake Murray to celebrate July 4th.
It's one of the first things the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources checks for when inspecting boats near the Lake Murray dam.
After a quick checklist of other things like horns, fire extinguisher, and registration, if all looks good Sergeant Young sends them on their way.
"There are a lot of boats and we try to emphasize the awareness of being aware of others on the water," Young explains.
On holidays like July 4th, there's an increased presence of law enforcement on Lake Murray. SCDNR says it's one of the busiest days of the year and they patrol the lake around the clock.
"We hear a bunch of stuff that happens out here, we're not trying to ruin anybody's fun we just make a point to be out here and keep everybody safe," said Lance Corporal Jason Smith.
With hundreds of boaters enjoying the lake, the most dangerous issue for SCDNR is boating while intoxicated.
"We will lock you up right there if we need to. You'll still go to jail and blow into the data master" explains Smith.
Passengers are able to drink as long as there is a designated driver.
Sergeant Young says despite the dangers on Independence day, he can't recall a time where a tragic boating accident happened on this lake and credits drivers being more aware.
"It does seem to register with a lot of folks. When everybody is mindful and respectful of others it tends to flow much better."